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James Southwick

Date of birth: 1915
Date of death: 24.11.1941
Area: Wrenthorpe
Regiment: Royal Navy
Family information: Son of Mrs Clara Southwick
Rank: Engine Room Artificer
Service number: D/MX 66527

War Service

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records James Southwick as son of Mrs C Southwick of Sandal, Wakefield. He was an engine room Artificer 4th Class and was number D/MX66527 in the Royal Navy and died aged 26 on 24th December 1941.
James was on board HMS Salvia, a year-old RN corvette which had just rescued many survivors of the sinking of the prison ship SS Shuntien. Within hours of the rescue the Salvia had also been torpedoed, with everyone on board including all those rescued previously, lost.
On 3rd January 1942 there was the following obituary in the Wakefield Express :
“NAVAL RATING MISSING – Mrs Southwick, 11 Stanley Main Street, Eastmoor Road, Wakefield, has received official notice that her eldest son, Engine Room Artificer James Southwick (26), is missing. The family formerly lived at Wrenthorpe. Southwick joined the Royal Navy in April 1940, leaving employment at Williams and Womersley, Wakefield, as a fitter. He served on destroyers and was on the ill fated “Defender” when she was sunk, but all the crew were saved. His mother is not sure what ship he was serving on. In September James met his brother Herbert (RAF) in the Middle East when there was a happy reunion.”
James is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Family Life

According to the electoral register Clara, James Henry and James Southwick were living at Pearson’s Buildings, Wrenthorpe Lane in 1938. James Henry was James’ father who died aged 54 in 1938. His parents had been married at St Anne’s on Christmas Day 1911. I believe they had four sons – Henry (b 1913), James (b 1915), Herbert (b 1920) and Robert (b 1923) but Henry died aged 3 in 1917.
In the 1939 Register Clara was living at 11, Stanley Main Street, Wakefield. James was living with her and it gave his birth date as 25th March 1915 and his occupation was recorded as a fitter – power transmission. His brother Herbert was a bus conductor and there is a closed record which is presumably Robert.

Plymouth Naval Memorial, a tall column with panels of names at the bottom surrounding it Plymouth Naval Memorial

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